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As far as social media goes, it’s hard to top the raw reach and power offered by Facebook. Sure, it might not have a complete monopoly on the market, but this platform still stands as the top dog when it comes to using social networks to generate consumer outreach. Of course, having everyone vying for the same spotlight can make it pretty hard to get noticed as you try and build a following. If you’re about ready to give up hope and call it quits with Facebook, take a few minutes to read over these quick tips and tricks that could help you get back on track for converting your social presence on this front into increased email contact list membership.

The Too Little/Too Much Dilemma

The first place to look if you’re struggling to make a dent in your target audience is how often you post on this network. As Jesse Aaron of Business 2 Community explains, regardless of whether you’re trying to promote your email content or just gain a few more likes, committing to posting too often or not enough can end your chances of making a splash before you even log in to your account.

Unfortunately, when it comes to frequency, there is no magic number to aim for as you map out your social schedule. Generally, you’ll need to gauge the feedback from your audience and key in on high traffic and activity times – a little more on this later – as well as watch for opportunities to stay relevant and current with breaking stories. Social media is all about having your voice heard, so slipping in some non-promotional posts and offering insight or reactions to trending topics can help you break down the frequency barrier and keep your audience interested.

Make Use of Facebook Analytics and Data

Speaking of your audience, Aaron goes on to point out that there’s no reason not to know quite a bit about these people, considering the ample suite of data and analytics tools built into the Facebook platform. Not only can this information help you decide when and what to post, but it also has the ability to help splash a little insight into your email marketing operations and message content. Naturally, there’s not always this kind of room for crossover, but as you learn more about your Facebook audience and find this potential overlap, you’ll see that this type of efficiency offers quite a bit of incentive to keep pushing forward with both your social and inbox operations.

Take Creativity to a New Level

In terms of your actual Facebook posts and shares, AdWeek’s David Cohen recommends that you let your creative side off of its leash and have a little fun. Holiday themed offerings, “behind the scenes” insight into how your company works during daily tasks or special events, and even sharing the occasional meme or funny picture, fits the bill. People come to Facebook to let off a little steam and enjoy some digital rest and relaxation, so try and be the fun brand from time to time. If you can do this, you’ll find there’s plenty of opportunities later on to provide a quick glimpse into what’s going on in the inbox.

Ask Questions

As you probably know by now, faking or manufacturing interaction with your audience isn’t just a tough task – it’s virtually impossible. If you want to try your hand at some authentic back and forth, Victor Luckerson of Time magazine has a surprisingly simple, and effective, suggestion; ask a question.

Simply skipping the “statement” posts and requesting a response from your audience in the form of a thought-provoking or intriguing question can help get your brand name trending. The best part is that as followers respond, you’ll have the perfect opportunity to engage each person and present an active persona on behalf of your organization.

Don’t Be Afraid to Give Your Brand a Little Boost

Of course, sometimes doing your best just isn’t enough to get over the hump in this highly competitive social arena. For this reason, Luckerson goes on to point out that there’s nothing wrong with picking up some targeted ads or even cross-promoting with already established entities. Both of these methods might force you to readjust your company’s marketing budget, but the return in brand awareness – and eventually email list gains – should make this investment more than worthwhile. Once you’re on the map, putting the rest of these tips to good use, and spreading the word about your email content, should become a decidedly easier affair.

 

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Social media and email marketing go together like peanut butter and jelly, Bonnie and Clyde, two peas in a pod, and virtually any other simile or metaphor you can come up with off the top of your head that relates to great pairs. It’s well-documented and far from earthshattering in terms of news potential, but there’s no way to skirt around the facts. However, what is a little surprising is the fact that Google’s favorite social project does fly under the radar a bit in terms of exposure – at least when compared to the amount of attention given to Twitter and Facebook. To help give your brand a competitive advantage over other organizations that are still fighting for dwindling share and reach on these other networks, let’s take a look at five quick tips that can help you become a big name on Google+.

Get Familiar with Gmail/Google+ Messages

One of the biggest things going for Google+ is the extended reach it offers for active members of the community. As Danny Sullivan of Marketing Land explains, Google+ users, including your brand, can send messages to anyone else on the network. While this message does show up in the social tab of the new Gmail interface, it provides an extra avenue for communication with individuals who might not be aware of your email offers and discounts. Adding that it helps promote your brand’s standing on this ever-growing network doesn’t hurt either.

Make the Most of the People Widget

After you start building up a list of followers on Google+, you’ll find that your posts start popping up in the people widget section of the Gmail interface. As Frederic Lardinois of TechCrunch points out, highlighting recent posts and comments in this portion of the inbox serves as additional marketing real estate for your brand. Essentially, if you plan out your social media content with this concept in mind, you can create a deeper and lasting bond with your contact list that blends Google+ posts and the deals and discounts held within your current email content seamlessly.

Keep an Eye on Influencers

Of course, sometimes people don’t want to experience a deluge of marketing offers when they open up their inbox in the morning. With this in mind, Forbes magazine’s Kate Harrison suggests keeping an eye on influencers and developing content and social outreach that leans heavily on these major industry voices.

The end game for this method is two-fold. First, simply watching for relevant or interesting posts and links from these individuals on Google+ helps improve the quality of your email content. Additionally, if you can leverage your emerging position on this network into a relationship with these influencers, then mentions, recommendations, and exclusive content that your competitors can only dream of could stand as a well-earned reward for your hard work.

Understand and Utilize Google+ Analytics

Harrison goes on to note that for brands looking at any form of online outreach, from email to social and other digital strategies, the audience analytics offered by this social network are second to none. For instance, the “post ripple” feature tracks virtually every facet of a given submission to the platform. From distribution channels to top influencer interaction and sharing velocity, taking note of how users interact with this content can help shape and mold your email message moving forward.

Think of it as an alternate form of A/B testing. If something ignites your social circles on Google+, chances are it has a home in your next marketed message. Similarly, if you have a recent offer in the inbox that is doing well, there’s no reason not to double up and hit your social audience for even more conversions and brand awareness.

Optimize Your Profile

Finally, it’s no big secret that Google is the biggest name in the search engine business, so it makes sense to optimize your profile and rank higher on relevant result pages. Filling out all relevant entries, keeping your profile content up to date, and using accurate imagery all help kick this process into high gear. If you want to go to the next level, Cindy King of Social Media Examiner recommends using your profile to claim authorship for any original works generated on behalf of your brand.

Even if it’s just a simple industry white paper or report, connecting your social presence to these high value pieces of content can help increase the reach of your online persona. This, in turn, should help funnel even more interested consumers into your contact list, which means all the world for brands that are serious about taking the inbox by storm.

 

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While it’s not necessarily breaking news, there’s still quite a few brands that aren’t on to the powerful connection between social media and email marketing. As for those who are “in the know” regarding this veritable match made in heaven, there’s plenty among this group that can’t see beyond the wide reach of Facebook and the SEO benefits of Google+. While there’s no denying the merits of these two major platforms, this oversight does present a strong opportunity for brands like your own to leverage the unused potential of Twitter. To find out just how your brand can start boosting conversions and contact list numbers 140 characters at a time, here’s a few tips to help build a better bond between your email marketing operations and Twitter presence.

Collecting Handles and Follows

One of the oldest tricks in the book for brands looking to build a bigger social presence comes in the form of slipping in quick connection requests at opportune times. With this in mind, why not try to connect with a simple request in the inbox or on the checkout screen after landing a conversion thanks to your creative email content? Twitter lays claim to over 284 million active users, so even if you only harvest a small percentage of followers for your email marketing operation, or the handles of prominent customers for later tweets and outreach, the potential for visibility among previously undiscovered audiences is through the roof.

Become a Major Player in the Right Hashtag Discussions

Of course, simply asking inbox viewers to follow your brand or identify themselves on the network for your marketing team only goes so far. To really spread the word about your email marketing operations, or any other related digital marketing content for that matter, you need to have your tweets seen in the right place, at the right time, and by the right people.

So how does a brand do this? The answer revolves around finding the right hashtag conversations. For instance, the constantly flowing discussion within #emailmarketing matters quite a bit to us, just as a brand in the home improvement industry naturally will gravitate toward #diy and #interiordesign. The big point here is that finding specific, narrow conversations and inserting your brand directly into the middle of these relevant discussions goes a long way.

Make the Most out of Retweetable “Snippets”

One of the best ways to accomplish this goal once you’ve honed in on the right hashtags is by making certain portions of your email content retweetable with a simple click by the viewer. As DJ Waldow of Social Media Examiner explains, highlighting the best “snippets” of your content goes beyond the basic plea of “retweet this!” and gives your inbox audience a great reason to promote your brand presence on Twitter to their followers. Incorporating tweets and quotes from industry thought leaders also fits into this tactic exceptionally well.

If you’re struggling to drum up some interest on this front, Waldow goes on to point out that incentivizing the process is not only fair game, put a pretty smart tactic as well. Whether it’s providing an additional entry into a related email or SMS sweepstakes, or simply unlocking some gated content in return for this action, giving your audience a reason to retweet the best parts of your marketed messages can go a long way toward getting this highly valuable content in front of the eyes of potential new members of your contact list and future customers alike.

Have Some Fun with Your Tweets

Above all else, don’t forget what makes Twitter so popular – it stands as one of the most fun and informative places on the Internet. Whether it’s sharing funny cat pictures or a link to the latest great industry white paper, people simply can’t get enough of these brief glimpses into the lives of others. In short, the average Twitter experience touches on quite a few emotions and subjects, so if you want to best leverage this platform to gain more traction for your email content and increase conversions, you can’t afford to approach this process from just one angle of attack.

To avoid disenfranchising your following – and ruining potential gains for your email marketing operations – don’t be afraid to mix in some lighthearted or engaging content. People aren’t always looking for sales-oriented content, so aim for a healthy blend of branded selections and curated content that’s both informative and enjoyable. By doing this, you’ll key in on the best of both worlds and keep users, both longstanding and new to the fold, coming back for more.

 

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2015 will be the year of social media. In fact, Jeremy Harris Lipschultz, a professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and contributor to The Huffington Post, suggests that nothing will influence online marketing operations more than how brands integrate these social platforms into the other facets of digital outreach. Considering that email marketing still stands supreme in terms of reach and conversion potential, it only makes sense to start with the bond between these two when building a plan that maximizes the gains of this rising social trend. To help get you up to speed and ready to reap the rewards of a more social 2015, here’s a few quick tips to strengthen the connection between this form of media and the content you ship off to customers.

Mixing Things up with Blasts and Shares

The first tip comes from Nicole Kroese of Business 2 Community and touches on the basic – but oft overlooked – practice of including social share links in your email marketing blasts and content. While it might seem like an obvious inclusion, plenty of brands fail to incorporate these simple buttons and hyperlinks into their content, which in turn results in missed opportunities for bolstering your social following while also enacting your standard email strategy.

If you’re shipping out webinars, white papers, or any other content that can go viral, you can help propel this content to viewership far outside of your established inbox audience by including a sweepstakes or giveaway promotion. People love the chance to win free stuff, so why not offer up something enticing in exchange for a like, share, or repost? This way, you’ll not only drum up some interest within your current community, but also enhance your ability to connect with viewers who might be unaware of your content and email subscription list.

Retarget Your “Cold Feet” Prospects

For brands willing to further entwine their email marketing operations with social media and digital marketing at large, Kroese goes on to suggest utilizing the powerful Facebook retargeted ad campaign tool when the time comes to attempt another conversion. By retargeting individuals that reached your landing pages after opening an email or social link but didn’t quite go all the way with a sale, you can advertise on the most relevant platform and keep your brand’s name in the discussion. There’s no guarantee that you’ll convert all of these shoppers who would otherwise slip through the cracks, but leveraging the power of social media and breathing new life into the deals and discounts found in your emails via a new medium is hard to pass up.

Make Unsubscribing a Positive

Not everyone stays subscribed to your email contact list, but that doesn’t mean you and these wayward viewers can’t stay in touch. As Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today explains, just because someone doesn’t want to receive emails anymore, that doesn’t mean he or she is completely done with your brand. By adding in social like, follow, and favorite buttons on your unsubscribe confirmation page, you leave the door open for consumers that might just need a change of pace in terms of brand contact. Who knows? After enjoying your social content for a while, they might decide that it’s time for a change of heart and come back to the list. At the very least, you can keep your brand from completely being cut out of the picture.

Generate Web-Based Versions of Your Email Content

Similarly, building web-based versions of your email content is a great way to show these unsubscribed viewers what they are missing. Not only can your brand tweet, post, and share these deals and discounts as a way of promoting its email contact list and generating value, it also provides users with a way to share specific offerings with friends and family. In short, web-based clones of your email content extends the reach even farther of this already powerful tool.

Spotlight Exceptional Fans

Finally, any time you can add a little human element to your content, you’re doing something right. With this in mind, why not take the best posts, tweets, and other follower activity and add it into your email content? Having a “customer spotlight” section in your emails on a daily or periodic basis not only helps break up the “salesy” nature of many messages, it also gives people a chance to hear from their peers before accepting an offer. Combining this modern take on testimonials and other tips with your current content can help seal the deal and ensure you always extract the most value from email marketing and social media in 2015 and beyond.

 

It’s officially Small Business Month here in Canada, so there’s no better time than now to talk about how your business can connect with the local community and build some lasting relationships. Considering that people across the country can’t get enough of social media these days, as well as the fact that these networks play an integral part in any successful email marketing campaign, let’s spend a few minutes talking about how your small business can change up its outreach approach and hang with the industry big boys on Facebook, Twitter, and more moving forward.

Relationships Come First

Just like going through the process of requesting permission before firing off marketing emails, you can’t get ahead of yourself when it comes to connecting with your audience on social media. As Donne Torr of Hootsuite, a social marketing aggregation tool, explains in her look at the particulars of navigating these platforms from the perspective of a small business, emphasizing relationship building is a key part of the process.

Instead of spamming newsfeeds with requests to buy your products or join your brand’s email contact list, focus on interacting and conversing with followers and individuals who frequent related social circles. If you can present this kind of personable front for your organization, the potential for conversions will grow organically from this solid foundation.

Run with a Different Crowd

When it comes to picking the right network for your social endeavors, Emily Wight of The Guardian’s Small Business Network points out that business-to-business opportunities are better suited for LinkedIn than anywhere else. If your brand focuses on forging contracts and finalizing sales with other organizations before reaching retail markets, it makes sense to skip the casual appeal of Facebook or Twitter and opt for this more professional platform.

One of the best ways to engender this concept and make major headway in regard to professional relationships comes from posting in relevant industry oriented groups. The more you provide thought-provoking or conversation-inducing content in these groups, the more likely you are to notch a few more members on your contact list.

A neat little trick that works especially well once you join these groups is to repurpose your email or blog content into condensed posts. Naturally, you’ll want to freshen up these offerings and avoid simply copying the source material. If you can do this, repurposing is a quick and easy way to share something valuable on the network without spending hours trying to reinvent the wheel.

Find Ways to Stand Apart

Regardless of which networks you decide to incorporate in your approach, Nicole Fallon of Fox’s Small Business Center explains that it’s vital to the success of your campaign to stand out. While following in the path of the bigger names in your industry definitely requires the least amount of work, it’s also unrealistic to expect much out of this approach.

To really embody this mindset, Fallon suggests stepping out of line and doing something creative and fun. Whether it’s putting a premium on humorous or light-hearted content that adds a little levity to your followers’ coffee breaks or posting a weekly look into the daily operations of your organization (a video blog uploaded to YouTube works wonders for this concept), doing something aside from a few generic posts a day is the best way to stand apart from the masses.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

For the history buffs out there, Sun Tzu’s famous words of advice regarding knowing oneself and the enemy as well before a battle will ring especially true for this next social media tip. Specifically, Jean Moncrieff of Business 2 Community suggests spending some time looking at the profiles of your top three to five competitors in the industry. By doing a little “scouting” on these organizations, you can see what works and what doesn’t in terms of interaction and visibility, which in turn refines your brand’s approach before it even begins.

Spend Some Time Measuring Progress

Finally, Moncrieff goes on to point out that none of this work matters if you don’t spend some time analyzing your success and failures. Whether it’s keeping a pulse on the rise and fall of raw follower numbers and email contact list opt-ins or going a little deeper and recording the shares, likes, and favorites on individual posts, having some sort of metric in place goes a long way to finding out if your campaign is a finely tuned machine or if it’s closer to “fixer-upper” status. Regardless of how you measure your campaign, adding in some performance indicators, as well as the rest of the other tips covering social media success, can help your organization make the most of its time spent on these networks during Small Business Month and beyond.

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A quick look around the next time you’re out enjoying a nice meal or picking up some groceries will show you that social media has invaded literally everything about modern life as we know it. Whether it’s tweeting at your favorite celebs or sharing that hilarious cat video with your family on Facebook, the digital world has never been more sociable than it is today. When it comes to SMS marketing, this industry isn’t exempt. To help you make the most out of social media during your next text message campaign, here’s everything you need to know about proactively connecting with these interactive audience members on the go.

Tether Deals and Offers to Your Social Pages

One of the easiest ways to build a lasting bond between your SMS operations and the social accounts related to your organization comes from tethering the two together via integrated promotions, according to Jerry Jascoviak of Mobile Marketing Watch. Whether it’s rewarding new members that found out about your text campaign on social media with gated content or spreading the word about your latest tweet or Facebook post with a quick message, finding common ground between these two processes can make all the difference in the world when connecting with customers.

Naturally, you won’t want to force every promotion into this overlapping area, but it definitely can’t hurt to use it to your advantage when generating a little extra interest. Another smart tactic that plenty of brands overlook comes in the form of reminding your current subscribers what they are missing by not liking or following your pages. This doesn’t mean you need to spam them with texts about social requests, just don’t forget to drop them a line every once in a while letting them know about everything they are missing out on by not participating. If you have an email marketing operation also running at the same time, you can initiate an even larger amount of crossover that will bolster your following on all three platforms.

Signing Up Via Social Media

Speaking of sign up reminders, why not add a marketing sign-up page or link to your existing social media accounts? For instance, Facebook offers a completely built-in tool that lets you create a contact list sheet directly on your company page. Again, this tool offers a great opportunity to build overlap between your SMS and email operations. After all, your customers are already checking out your account, so why not sign them up for both message services? Just be sure that these future audience members understand exactly what you’re offering. Transparency and honesty in the marketing process is key to keeping your customers satisfied once the text messages start hitting their mobile phones.

Promote Your Next Campaign on Relevant Networks

If you’re already in the middle of an SMS campaign, there’s no time like the present to do a little promotion on your favorite social networks. As Brett Relander explains in his post for Entrepreneur magazine, spending a few minutes whipping up an Instagram post or tweet goes a long way to spreading the word about your text messages.

The best part about regular posts regarding your SMS campaign is that it can easily go viral, all thanks to satisfied contact list members liking, sharing, and commenting on your messages. If you’ve never watched it happen before, there’s nothing quite like seeing a vibrant and organic discussion regarding your lasted SMS offer emerge on a social media post.

Reward Your Loyal Followers

Of course, it’s easy for the fervor surrounding your newly implemented crossover promotion to die down if you don’t keep the good vibes rolling. One of the easiest ways to avoid this marketing calamity is by rewarding the customers that remain active and engaged, according to Craig Rossouw of Biz Community. While some brands might offer free samples and other exclusive offers, you don’t exactly have to break the bank to provide a little thank you to those shoppers that stand as members of your social networks and SMS contact list.

In most cases, simply providing a small coupon that can be used on their next visit to your store is a nice enough gesture that shows you really appreciate consumer participation. Of course, if you really want to pull out all the stops, feel free to provide these followers with as valuable a gift as you see fit. If you can do this, as well as incorporate the rest of what you’ve learned about SMS messages and social media crossover, it won’t be long before your brand stands atop both worlds as an interactive and engaging marketing powerhouse.

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Some things are just destined to be together. If you’re in the business of connecting with customers via email marketing, you know that this practice, when paired with social media, is right up there with mustard and ketchup, Abbott and Costello, and all the other great tandems found throughout history. To make this bond even stronger, here are some creative and effective ways to build a better relationship between your marketed messages and the social outreach that compliments these offerings.

Don’t Forget the Social Buttons

One of the easiest ways to fortify this connection is by giving your readers a chance to share the great deals found within your emails. As DJ Waldow of Social Media Examiner notes in his piece on the subject, simply dropping in a button for Twitter, Facebook, or any other relevant network into your messages is a powerful strategy that provides new reach to your deals and promos. With each share, like, favorite, and retweet, your email ends up in front of an entirely new audience. Incentivizing this social promotion with additional discounts and offers gives your audience even more reason to let their friends and family members in on your latest message.

Generate Social Opt-ins

Waldow goes on to point out that your social media accounts hold an untapped reservoir of new contact list members. Unfortunately, these ready and willing consumers simply don’t have an easy way to get in touch with your brand’s email marketing campaign. To put an end to this unfortunate circumstance, use Facebook’s built-in sign-up feature to generate an opt-in page. This way, as word spreads about your campaign and all the great savings that end up directly in shoppers’ inboxes, these social networkers will have easy access to your next round of emails and you’ll have a whole new set of members to add to your brand contact list.

Run a Social Tie-in Contest

Regardless of the medium, there’s one universal truth in the marketing world; customers love giveaways. For this very reason, social media expert Jeff Bulas suggests on his personal blog that brands looking to build better harmony between email and social marketing should operate a sweepstakes via these networks. The benefits of running this type of outreach program are numerous.

First, you’ll generate a major boost in your social network activity, which is never a bad thing. From here, expect to see your opt-in rates go up as word spreads to every corner of the web about the free stuff your brand is handing out. Naturally, you’ll need to offer a prize that’s worth the time and effort put forth by these customers when they sign up, but that’s the easy part. One look at your contact list after the fact will give you all the motivation you need to really knock their socks off with an amazing giveaway.

Put a Social Spin on Your Subject Lines

It’s amazing what a great subject line can do for your email marketing campaign. Obviously, we’ve talked about optimizing these headers at great length, but when it comes to integrating your social strategy, there’s still a few thoughts to cover. Amy Birch of Social Media Today helps get the discussion rolling by covering this very concept in her article detailing great integration examples.

In her piece, Birch notes that fashion retailer New Look pushed customer responsiveness through the roof by using the simple headline, “Are You a Social Butterfly?” With this simple, straightforward, and incredibly powerful headline guiding the way, New Look was able to let contact list members know right away that this brand’s message was all about looking good in person, as well as on social media. Even if you’re not in the fashion business, a smart headline oriented toward social media can really help your brand strut its stuff.

Know Which Platforms Matter Most

The final tip for complimenting your email strategy with powerful social media tactics comes from Pamella Neely of Web Marketing Today. Neely explains that to really build a dedicated following that boosts inbox open rates and shares, you need to know which platforms matter most to your audience. While some brands might say Facebook and Twitter are just fine and go from there, if you really want to make a splash, this path of least resistance simply isn’t good enough. With Instagram, Pinterest, and Google+ all pulling plenty of subscribers, harnessing the power of all the options placed before your brand can really set it apart from the competition. If your organization can put this tip with the rest of what you’ve learned in this post, there’s nothing stopping your next email marketing campaign from reaching new heights, all thanks to a little help from the world of social media.

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At this point, you know that a good email or SMS campaign goes hand in hand with social media. Few one-two punches even come close to the kind of power this duo packs. However, are your only options really Facebook, Google+, and Twitter? While the “Big Three” might be the first that come to mind when you think of reaching out to fans on social media, the truth about your other options – and the stats backing up these claims – might surprise you. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how Instagram can compliment a strong SMS or Email marketing campaign, sending your brand influence through the roof.

The Power of Instagram

Before going any further, you’re probably wondering why anyone would dare to put Instagram in the same category as Facebook or the other leading networks. However, the truth is that Instagram is in a league of its own when it comes to making contact with customers. According to a recent report from marketing research firm Forrester, Instagram delivered 58 times more engagement for brands per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. To put it plainly, these two leading names aren’t even close when it comes to actually connecting and interacting with your audience.

For a little extra context, the report showcases a video posted by Red Bull, which received 2,600 likes on Facebook. Not bad, right? While that kind of engagement is nothing to scoff at, it definitely pales in comparison to the 36,000 likes the same video received on Instagram. In total, six of the seven platforms studied reported engagement rates below .1 percent, with Instagram easily outpaced the field, taking the lead at 4.21 percent.

Going Beyond Stats

While the stats are definitely eye-popping, the real power of this visually oriented social network is the ability to actually engage customers in a meaningful and interactive way. Instead of tired, generic posts that so many brands rely upon when posting to Facebook or Twitter, sharing on Instagram lets you express your brand image, story, and content in a more engaging and visually pleasing manner. This unique method of getting in contact with your customers is what truly makes connecting via Instagram so powerful. While generating high quality graphic content that relates to your latest round of email or SMS messages, or brand in general, might take a little extra work, the numbers don’t lie regarding how your audience responds to this kind of engagement.

Building an Instagram Strategy

So now that you’re up to speed with what you have to gain by incorporating Instagram into your social media game plan, it’s time to take a look at how to fit this network into your next campaign. To start, take advantage of the full service profile features to give your customers an idea of what your brand is all about. Much like Twitter and Facebook, incomplete profile information doesn’t come off as very professional, so make sure you give your audience all they need to know (and then some) to ensure they have the complete picture regarding your brand.

From here, engaging your customers with fun events and activities is a great way to drum up interest in your brand and even score some extra numbers and addresses for your contact lists. Offering contests that require user submissions, as well as featuring these members of your audience on a regular basis, can go a long way toward building a significant brand following on Instagram. Even doing something as simple as showing off a promo code you’d normally use for your email or SMS marketing initiatives every once in a while can give members of the network all the incentive they need to make stopping by your profile and checking out your latest uploads a part of their daily routine.

Looking to the Future

Of course, the biggest question surrounding a platform like Instagram is the concern that it is just a passing fad. While the likes of MySpace, Friendster, etc. all tell a cautionary tale about the viability of social networks, the fact that over 90 percent of Instagram’s 150 million (and growing) users are under the age of 35 bodes well for the long-term prospects of brand’s that plan on utilizing this platform in upcoming campaigns. Adding in that the mobile technology revolution is going nowhere anytime soon, it’s pretty safe to say that Instagram should definitely have at least a complimentary spot in your email and SMS initiatives for a long time to come.

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By now, you know that email marketing and social media are two peas in a pod when it comes to reaching out to your audience. Whether it’s one of the countless marketing blogs out there telling you how great these two are together or your own personal experience doing a little brand promotion work, it’s not exactly the best kept secret in the industry. However, what plenty of talking heads fail to cover is exactly how you can put this connection to good use and grow your email contact list without a lot of extra effort. Thankfully, all you need to do is take a few minutes and look over these must see tips to get the ball rolling on your next big email marketing push.

Use Facebook’s Built-in Apps to Make an Email Opt-in Form (and Don’t Forget to Promote It!)

One of the absolute best synergies between social media and email marketing comes from the biggest social platform in the world. As part of its extensive app library, Facebook gives your brand the opportunity to setup an email opt-in form right on your page. While this might not seem like much, think back to the last time you were browsing a page and had to click an external link to check out an article or sign-up for something; chances are you probably just kept scrolling down because you didn’t want to leave the Facebook page or app on your phone. Your customers have the same mindset, so make it easy on them with a sign-up sheet that keeps them on Facebook. Once you have it up and running, don’t forget to post about it so that it pops up in their newsfeeds.

Each Social Site Deserves a Little Extra Attention

In a world where everything is automated and lumped together for convenience, it’s easy to be lazy and approach your social media engagement in broad and generic strokes. So many platforms give you the ability to post to all sites at once, so why not do this and save a little time? While this sounds good at first, the reality is that different people prefer different networks, so using the same method to promote your list across all of them isn’t your best bet.

Much like your email templates that have links and icons for each network you post on, instead of just one option, your promotional messages should also mix things up to entice different portions of your audience. While this does mean that you’ll need to test and tweak the different parts of your posts to see what Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. viewers like, the sign-ups you get in return will make you happy you didn’t take the easy way out and just click “post to all.”

Free Stuff Is a Great Motivator

If after all this you’re still having trouble with sagging contact list numbers, don’t be afraid to do start handing out some freebies. While you might not want to make this your go to plan, it doesn’t hurt to have some giveaway ideas in store for the times when you need to inject some new life into your audience’s enthusiasm. After all, nothing gets the online crowd buzzing more than a post offering goodies or discounts to those who take a minute to sign-up. If you really want to go deep on this strategy, adding in a small bonus for those who like or retweet your offer will have it popping up on potential new customer newsfeeds in no time.

Give Your Users a Chance to Sound off

With the rest of the tips on this list focusing on how you can make the sign-up experience enticing for customers, this one shifts the balance of power in the other direction a little bit. Customers love giving feedback, so why not give them a chance to speak their minds and let your brand know exactly what they like and dislike about your email campaigns. It doesn’t have to be an open Facebook post or Google+ community discussion, but linking back to feedback forms and customer support email accounts on your social media pages offers a direct line to the people you’re trying to connect in the first place.

Don’t Forget the Secondary Networks

The final tip that can really grow your email list doesn’t have anything to do with Facebook or Twitter. While these guys are definitely the top dogs when it comes to social media, that doesn’t mean they are the only players in the game. Working with Pinterest, LinkedIn, and the other up and coming platforms can help you tap into a user base that might not connect very often on the bigger networks. Additionally, getting creative and doing things like saving your email offers as pins on Pinterest can help push your brand image ahead of the competition. When it comes to email marketing and social media, isn’t that where you want to be with your audience?

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It’s your brand’s worst nightmare: you drop a hefty chunk of your marketing budget onto a great SMS campaign, only to watch the bottom fall out as some new craze hits your target audience. If you’ve been keeping up with the news lately, you just might have this sinking feeling in your stomach after finding out that Facebook purchased WhatsApp – a peer-to-peer chat app that is massively popular. However, let’s hold off on a complete meltdown and look over some of the facts surrounding the deal, and what it means for connecting with your audience via text, before we start reading the last rites for SMS marketing.

The Skinny on Facebook’s Monster Purchase

The best place to start is with a good look at what went down. Facebook recently broke the news that it was purchasing WhatsApp for a whopping $19 billion. That little tidbit in and of itself is enough to make waves in any industry. However, with reactions ranging from “jaw-dropping” to breaking down the value of each WhatsApp employee ($345.5 million a pop, in case you were wondering), the story has spread like wildfire and taken on a life of its own. While getting caught up in this craze is definitely exciting, pumping the brakes a little bit and thinking things out will help you see that this deal is definitely big news in the mobile and social media sectors, but SMS marketing is still king in many ways.

What Does This Mean for SMS Marketing?

Because Facebook monetizes pretty much everything it touches, the concern surrounding this deal was that the social media giant would go over the top of the SMS marketing industry and leverage ad space on the app. However, the linked article from Venture Beat we just shared does a great job breaking down exactly why that kind of thinking is closer to mass hysteria than it is to common sense.

First, and perhaps the biggest reason why WhatsApp gaining traction with Facebook doesn’t mean much to you, is the fact that this app makes its money from yearly subscriptions. The entire platform is based on a mantra which includes “no ads,” so customers couldn’t even sneak a peek at your offers while chatting with friends even if you wanted them to. After digesting this, the next little snippet from the article explains that WhatsApp isn’t even a big deal in the states. Ask yourself a quick question – before this story caught fire, did you even know what WhatsApp was? Don’t worry, neither did most people.

What is important for SMS marketing as a whole is that Facebook has reaffirmed that having your brand be a part of messaging is a smart play in the long haul. As a population, we can’t get enough texting – to the point that some people don’t even bother making phone calls at all anymore. While your company might not spend $19 billion to stay in touch with consumers like Facebook did, using messaging to build brand awareness puts you in some pretty good company.

What Facebook Hopes to Gain

As far as Facebook itself is concerned, the marketing industry is still a little unsure of what to make of the whole deal. Across the pond, some experts believe that WhatsApp’s popularity is here to stay, but question if Facebook is really going to get its money’s worth out of this blockbuster deal. While there’s no doubt that WhatsApp has a big time following, is there really more room for growth? Some of the best minds in the business aren’t so sure.

Bringing things back a little closer to familiar territory is Forbes magazine’s interesting take on the value debate. Basically, author Thomas Goodwin isn’t even sure if WhatsApp was Facebook’s first choice. After failing to hammer out a deal with Snapchat, which is definitely a bigger deal in the U.S. than WhatsApp, some industry insiders view this purchase as a bit of a consolation prize. While we’ll never really know the truth – until some disgruntled ex-employee leaks the juicy details about the boardroom debates that most definitely preceded this deal – it is pretty interesting to soak up some of the speculation and wonder just how much of an impact Facebook is really expecting from this whole thing.

Thinking Long-term

If you just want to trim this whole discussion down into a single sentence, this one should do the trick: SMS marketing isn’t going anywhere, and Facebook spending the big bucks on a messaging service just reaffirms the fact that contacting people, like your target audience, this way is definitely a strong channel for building your brand. Now that you’ve had a moment to breathe and understand what’s really going on with WhatsApp, think long-term with where you want your mobile marketing campaign to go and keep your eyes on that target – it’s the best strategy you’ve got in a world where everyone’s ready to overreact at the latest breaking news.

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